They may live in one of Las Vegas’ most classic neighborhoods, but the sensibility of New Orleans is never out of sight in the home of Donna Negrotto and Beth Giovannetti. Vice president and legal counsel for a gaming company, Negrotto first relocated to Las Vegas after losing her Gulfport, Mississippi, residence during Hurricane Katrina. Giovannetti, an education consultant, made the opposite journey. Originally from Iowa but having resided previously in Washington, D.C., she moved to New Orleans after Katrina to help rebuild the school system.
Negrotto headed back to New Orleans in 2012, where she met and began dating Giovannetti. However, after a corporate merger, the desert came calling again. “I was very entrenched [in New Orleans] and I had only been to Vegas once,” says Giovannetti, who was reluctant to give up her New Orleans home. Negrotto arrived in January 2014 and immediately began looking for an address for the couple.
In her previous stint, Negrotto had visited the Scotch 80s residence of real estate agent Michael McGraw and knew the neighborhood, with its sprawling mansions, was their target. With the help of McGraw, Negrotto and Giovannetti set out to find a dwelling they could “give a new life to.”
One of their first stops was the 1979-constructed home of Milton Schwartz, who helped build the Flamingo Hotel and was a founder of Valley Hospital. The owner at that time was a recent widow who was looking to downsize.
Negrotto immediately liked the house. “There were a lot of mirrors and lots of chandeliers everywhere,” she says. “I saw it and thought, ‘This has great bones.’ Every room is big, nice size, tall ceilings. I knew it could be something.”
Giovannetti, on the other hand, was not convinced. “Every surface was gray. The walls, the ceiling, the floor,” she says. “My home in New Orleans is a 200-year-old plantation home. It’s completely different. It was hard for me to see [the potential]. It’s really to Donna’s credit that she saw the spaces and the vision.”
Negrotto reassured Giovannetti that a complete renovation was in the works prior to move-in, a process that took about three months. The women helmed the project along various subcontractors to execute their vision. The finishing touch was to meld their New Orleans lifestyle with their new Vegas one, and they knew that could be accomplished through the careful selection of furnishings and antiques. Anything new was purchased online from stores such as Restoration Hardware, Joss & Main and One Kings Lane, all complementing the rich history they already possessed.
“We handpicked our favorite things from New Orleans and then we bought from antique markets,” Giovannetti says. “I rented out my [New Orleans] house and loaded up the U-Haul with our favorite pieces and made the 26-hour drive with my best friend and our pitbull, Liv.”
Here’s a look at the spaces they love and the stories that make this house a home.
One of Negrotto’s favorite pieces is an altar that was originally in her Mississippi home that was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. “It was driven into a wall and the legs were all broken off, so we had these acrylic bases made for it.” The two chairs, now covered in cowhide, were from a hotel in New Orleans. “They were hideous,” Negrotto says. “They were plaid and gold,” Giovannetti adds. “We bought them for $50 each.” Uncharacteristic for Las Vegas, the house has three fireplaces. The one in the living room has been covered in metal for a modern feel.